“It’s not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”
What a great line from Shakespeare, especially appropriate to paraphrase, especially when the bill deals with the cultural affairs department.
As I stood in the hallway waiting to testify before the Executive Department and Administration Committee, I thought it somewhat a stroke of brilliance to begin my testimony with that line.
It’s not that I love cultural affairs less, Madame Chair, but that I love those in need of special services, students in need of education, etc. more.
You get the idea.
Heck any sentient human being would get the idea. Spending on cultural affairs may be fine and good in a time when we have unlimited dollars to spend for our wants, but in a time when we must focus on needs rather than wants, priorities would seem to demand otherwise.
Apparently Chairman Lucille McVitty Weber did not think it such a great idea to even attempt to quote Shakespeare. In an interruption which put me in mind of the worst sins of our previous Speaker, the Chair went right to her gavel and asked that I focus on the bill and not quote Shakespeare.
It wasn’t as if I had wandered all over the map for more than five minutes (the time I had noted on the sign-in card). Boy, imagine how berserk she would have gone had I used the word “hutchenspiel”!
This was at the very beginning of my testimony and was meant to set the tone of what was to come. Who does this Chairman think she is by dictating which allusions can or cannot be made in front of her committee? Not even Billy the Bully would have been so dictatorial in deciding what was out of order.
Methinks thou doth protest too much, Madame Chair.
The evil that men (women) do lives after them, Madame Chair, another line from Julius Caesar as I recall a line which I decided not to gratuitously throw forth.
One quote from Shakespeare was enough, apparently too much for a chair whose power apparently has gone to her head after only a few short weeks wielding the gavel.
It was even worse because, unlike any committee hearing I’ve ever appeared before, even before the prime sponsor was allowed to introduce the bill (that would be I), the chair felt to the need to inform a room full of opponents that she had received numerous emails, all opposed, and she would hand them out.
Oh really, Chairman McVitty Weber. That would be like those of us on Criminal Justice feeling compelled to vote against House Bill 135 (the stand your ground repeal) because we had received more than a thousand emails in opposition, the only difference being that Criminal Justice Chair Laura Pantelakos had the good graces not to begin a hearing with such a statement.
I knew House Bill 561, the bill to consolidate (NOT abolish mind you) the Department of Cultured Affairs (to borrow a phrase from cdog) was not about to go well when I looked around to see a standing room only crowd of well healed opponents, so many in fact that had they passed the hat among their friends, they could fund the cultured affairs department without having to revert to state dollars.
That’s as it should be.
My point in bringing this bill forward is that it would, according to legislative budget office figures, save the state $608,234 the first year in effect and $877,017 each year thereafter, all in the spirit of reinventing government as Governor Maggie Hassan has been gloating about since taking office.
I knew there would be opposition, but little did I realize that I or any member of the House would be so rudely treated as Chairman McVitty Weber chose to foist upon us, a clear violation of what we had come to believe was Speaker Terie Norelli’s philosophy of treating people with respect, then voting against their bills.
Lucille McVitty Weber, who was always the first to moan and groan when Speaker O’Brien and his minions treated her and her fellow Democrats that way, obviously didn’t get the message of respecting others.
When you begin a hearing by refusing to allow a ten second quote from Shakespeare…well…well…I guess the most appropriate response would have been…one I didn’t resort to...”Hail victory, Madame Chair.” Of course we all know the translation of that…it’s, “Sieg Heil, Madame Chair.”
I suppose I should take comfort in the knowledge that it’s not merely a dictatorial Republican speaker who could prompt such a moment, but now a Democratic Chair as well.
Shame on Lucy McVitty Weber. Maybe she is not literate enough to get the allusion to what was being said about Caesar, but to be blunt, with so many culture lovers in the room; you think someone would have gotten it.
If we can save a million and a half dollars in the biennium, how many children could be taken off the developmentally disabled list? If every Rep and Senator came up with a means of saving just a quarter that amount, we could certainly restore funding to the university system and to many HHS services as well.
Chairman Webber wasn’t interested in hearing that. She was too busy sorting through her negative emails and wielding the gavel against the Immortal Bard.
Sad…sad…sad…and thanks to Chairman Pantelakos for not resorting to such tactics…and to Speaker Norelli for not resorting to them on the House floor. I thought we had lived past such moments.
Now, cdog, it’s up to you to send at least one email to committee members with your thoughts on “cultured affairs”.
I know you agree with me!
Memo to Speaker Norelli--Laurie Harding, of Lebanon, experienced in the ways of EDA, would have been my choice to chair that committee...if all Democrats were needed for chairs.
Here's the google...just to make sure I was on the right path.